Learn More About Eating During Road Cycling Rides

Published on 5 June 2017
by Ariane Lavigne

Summer is here and you cannot wait to go for a ride? You are wondering about the best choices in regards to drinks, gels, food to eat or drink during and after your ride? Here are some tips:  

During your ride:

Road cycling being one of the most demanding physical activities in regards of energy expenditure, it is important to ensure regular carb intake for intense rides that last for more than one hour to be able to maintain your pace. Because muscles are highly solicited and your heart rhythm usually quite elevated, it is normal not to feel your hunger.

Ideally, you should drink a sports drink containing between 4 and 8% of carbohydrates (for 1 litre, aim for contents between 40 and 80 g of carbs) and approximately 500 mg of sodium/litre (if the weather is really warm, your drink can contain up to 1000 mg of sodium to maximize hydration). Try to take sips on a regular basis (every 15 to 20 minutes), as soon as you get to a flatter section, in order to drink 500 ml to 1 litre of fluids every hour (the equivalent of two bottles). You do not like sports drink? Bring water, but you should meet your needs in carbohydrates by adding 40 to 60 gr of carbohydrates every hour (from gels, low-fat granola bars or cookies). If your ride lasts over three hours, it is recommended that you add high density energy foods such as a mix of dried fruits and nuts or energy packed protein bars. 


After your ride:

Your muscles will need nutrients and fluids for maximum recovery! Within 30 minutes of your ride, eat a snack that contains about 1 gram of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight (ex: if you weigh 60 kg, you will need 60 gr of carbohydrates) and 10 to 20 grams of proteins. On top of being liquid and containing electrolytes making the rehydration process easier, and because it naturally contains a great carb-protein ratio, chocolate milk is an excellent choice of recovery drink.



Ariane Lavigne
Nutritionist at VIVAI and a member of the National Snowboard Team